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S. Oregon Coast Holidays With a Bandon-Area Lighthouse and Florence

Published 11/19/20 at 6:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

S. Oregon Coast Holidays With a Bandon-Area Lighthouse and Florence

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(Florence, Oregon) – A lighthouse on the southern Oregon coast celebrates a momentous occasion with the possibilities of holiday gifts, and the town of Florence has figured out a way to safely shop for gifts and celebrate the holidays at a distance now that new restrictions are in place. (Above: Cape Blanco LIghthouse, courtesy Bandon Visitors Center)

Florence, Oregon’s Coastal Playground, has made a number of adjustments to its annual holiday festivities to comply with COVID-19-related regulations while still offering some festivities to preserve commerce in the small town.

Postponed to next year are Santa’s celebrated arrival, hayrides on Bay St., the mayor’s tree lighting, the cocoa and cookie trails, and live music.

This year, in their place the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting those who shop to vote for the best decorated of more than 15 participating shops and galleries, then drop off their ballot to enter to win a valuable “swag bag” full of goodies and certificates from Florence-area merchants. Locals are invited to “Shop Where You Live” and visitors are invited to “Shop Where You Play in Florence: Oregon’s Coastal Playground.”

The free ballot is available beginning November 27 at under the events tab. Completed ballots are due December 26 at the Chamber’s Visitor Center, 290 Highway 101 in Florence, to be entered for the drawing.

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“Everyone needs to just stop shopping online for generic gifts and find special gifts - unique to the recipient. Something really thoughtful and specially selected for the individual. Florence shops and galleries are full of those kinds of things,” said Bettina Hannigan, president/CEO of the Florence Area Chamber of Commerce. “We need to rally together to save small businesses in Florence. Stores and other businesses will be putting up their most festive holiday décor - inside and out - in hopes of earning shoppers’ votes for the best overall displays. At stake will be a special trophy declaring them the winner.”

Hannigan recognizes there are logistical concerns about going out in public, so she strongly recommends wearing a good mask, trying hard to stay a good distance from others, to carry a little bottle of hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.

“Please follow protocols while getting around to our many shops and galleries for your holiday shopping, and while doing so, be merry and cheerful toward other shoppers and shopkeepers,” she added. “Shop Small Saturday, the day after traditional Black Friday, is now a month-long celebration of local businesses in Historic Old Town Florence and all around town. Instead of spending all your funds online, come spend them finding precious, unique gifts for friends and loved ones – something truly unique and special for family and friends - in Florence.”

Another fun and perfectly safe way to spend the holidays is to whoop it up at a distance with a southern Oregon coast lighthouse.

The Cape Blanco Light Station near Bandon turns 150 this year: it first lit up on December 20, 1870. Now, the Bandon Visitors Center is touting the anniversary of the ol’ beacon and how it’s offering an array of gifts centered around it.

Actually, it’s the new Cape Blanco Heritage Society Etsy shop. A wide variety of mementos and lighthouse-wear are found online. You’ll find hats, t-shirts and sweatshirts in multiple styles and colors.

It’s all from the oldest operating lighthouse on the Oregon coast.

“With the exception of cosmetic changes such as paint color, the lighthouse tower structure remains the same today as it was in 150 years ago,” the Chamber said on its website. “Over the years, the workroom at the base of the tower has been remodeled, and the lens has been replaced.”

The lighthouse itself is not open to the public and all indoor facilities at Cape Blanco State Park are closed, but it is open for day-use and you can wander close to the stately sentinel.

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